Roenick sounded off against USA Hockey Monday after his Los Angeles Kings earned a 4-3 shootout victory over Vancouver Canucks, saying he was left off the team “because (USA Hockey has) been blackballing me since September.” The 36-year-old centre called American hockey officials “disrespectful” and was clearly bitter with their decision.
Hang around with Stephen Walkom, the National Hockey League’s recently installed director of officiating, and the exhortation “stick to the standard” is bound to issue from his lips.
Whether watching games in the league’s monitor-crammed operations center here or conversing with the officials under his command, Walkom returns again and again to his new mantra. Players, coaches and, yes, referees and linesmen will be held accountable to the standard, the updated rules of engagement between warring teams on the ice.
The clutching and grabbing and other obstruction techniques that players employed, that referees ignored and that turned hockey games into little more than rugby scrums will no longer be tolerated. This, Walkom decrees at every turn, is the new N.H.L., in which skilled players will be given room to display their talents and fans will be able to watch hockey as it was intended to be played.
Dominik Hasek will face the Habs in a Senators sweater for the first time tonight. And in two months, he’ll be taking on the world wearing his original colours. Hasek revealed yesterday he spoke with Czech national team coach Alois Hadamczik recently and that, barring injury, he will play for his homeland at the Olympics.